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A Walk in the Clouds

Sometimes when life gets monotonous and predictable, I am unable to concentrate on my studies. Unable to ignore the barrier of conservatism around me I fail to seek entertainment in forbidden barriers like the net and satellite television channels. As I sit at my study my mind digresses. I feel the irritation of the midday sunlight on my eyes and I draw my curtains. I see single strands of my hair on the table, even at the joints of the book that lies open before me. I start to suffocate, it seems like the walls around me are closing in and in an impulse I get up in a flash and open my curtains.

The sudden wave of wind that I receive by virtue of living on the topmost floor embraces me, like concerned friends trying to soothe the exasperation within me, trying hard to reconcile me with my normal self. In the greed of such care I recall how much an alien I am to genuine human concern. And I have no one to despise than the reflection that stares back at me from the mirror. Thoughts of irreconciled fights, unreturned greetings and unrequited love seem to be unending and haunting as well at times. I close my eyes and when I look again somehow my vision has tilted due to the close proximity of my chin against the window grill, and that is when I see them. White masses of condensed water vapour. No they carry more weight. These clouds are more than just actors working on a giant stage are, they seem to be my missing friends. They seem to tirelessly play forgotten days subconsciously erased from my minds.

I realize how selfish I have been to not notice my friends at a distance attracting my complete attention as they soar forward. When I think of them relative to my position I remember a more realistic message: friends that I cannot reach out to. But as ever they succeed to captivate my thoughts. I ponder about whether it would be more appropriate to call this article a walk down memory lane, but as a tribute to the medium of my nostalgia, I refrain from doing so. Sometimes when there are small clouds rushing together in a group, I can picture my schooldays. Each cloud appears to be one of us driving forward in a rush to feel the inexperienced, to quench the thirst for knowledge. Some of these clouds disperse to remind me of the friends I lost and the ones I had to lose.

I remember how we grew up with everyone as a part of each other's thoughts, like clouds stuffed together so as to symbolize one big system. Ones first love occupies a special place in ones heart. It is part infatuation, part soulful longing, it seems to be the best part of all the good things. As I see a couple of clouds separate out my old flame is rekindled. I cannot help but laugh at all the things that I said that I never thought I could, all the things I did without being sure of myself.(Especially all the naughty things). As I bask in the heat of all those warm feelings aroused the couple disentangle. I recount my first estrangement. It was so painful and unacceptable to the adolescent mind that I have not granted anyone else the chances to further dent an almost wreck. Dark clouds remind me of the bleakest times of my life. Problems with my dear ones, death of relatives, poor grades but they also remind me of who I was and what I had to be.

It is actually the absence of clouds on a clear starlit nightsky that enthralls me the most. They seem to depict what my mind failed to delineate over numerous attempts. The visage of my dream girl. It is such a distorted luminary combination that I cannot quite pen it down but I do not regret that. She is for me to decipher and dote on. The twinkling stars ornate her attributes. But I am sad; I cannot see her everyday. One of the many reasons why she is so special. I thank the clouds for this privacy and this celebration of my most intimate fascinations.I went to the rooftop with my friends a few days ago. They were admiring the arrangements of clouds that lay above us. One of them said it looked like a horse with its hoofs raised. The other said it looked like a rat. Laughter rang out inside me as I realized how different people were in their opinions. Another lesson from above. Then they started to pepper me with what I thought. I could not condense all my feelings into one reply. I just said 'Clouds'. Who was I kidding? Perhaps my 'friends'.

By Ishraq Shourovi

Life in Dhaka as it is?

Have you ever wondered what life in Dhaka would be like if it was something different? Say for example there were absolutely no congestion in the streets or crime was so low that you could take a walk in the streets of Dhaka at 1 am in the morning. Ok, that may be way off the mark but still who knows it might happen one day and then? Living in this country since I was born has made me realize how lucky I actually am to live in Bangladesh. It's not only the fact that it's my own country but also the challenges and uncertainties it provides day in day out is what I believe is the true spice of being a Bangladeshi. A lot of people say life here is slow, go to any city from New York to Shanghai to Bombay, and you will feel how fast the world is moving as soon as you step out of the airport. Even though as soon as you step out of Zia International Airport your every move will be followed by inquisitive eyes and small children will run towards you and ask for 'ekta dollar' (preferably US Dollar), you can't help feeling this place is unique in such a way that you could almost say it is 'heaven on earth'.

If you already haven't stop reading then I believe that you have if not a lot, at least a bit of patriotism in you. Where else in the world can you be late for anything and plainly blame it on traffic conditions? Being stuck in a traffic jam has its many advantages. You could think about the project you are working on, think about that special someone, though I am sure you have a lot of time for that at home also. If you are with a friend or cousin you can chat about so many things and easily pass your time, or if you are a serious type (or even preparing for your SAT's) you can read a book. Also if you are alone you can just stare at the people in the car next to you (this is more easier from a rickshaw) and make them nervous about all their moves. Then comes the pollution. Have you ever wondered with such high levels of poisonous gases in our air, which experts deem harmful for human beings, we still live on? Over the years thanks to the polluting cars and industries our body has gone through a lot of evolution and can withstand high levels of toxic substances. A person coming from a developed country will immediately have diarrhea or breathing problems but us? No way. This gives us an upper hand since we will be able to go anywhere in the world and suffer no such problem.

Life may be slow but who is the ultimate winner that is the question. Over the decades economists have argued whether development have given us more leisure or more work coupled with leisure. Here you can sit at home all day, watch TV (mostly movies) or hang around from place to place. Still you will not die of starvation. Ok, you might have a job requiring you labor eight hours a day in a 4 feet by 4 feet cubicle, but you can still survive even if you don't work that hard. Even begging is a profitable occupation here, I hear they earn pretty well. So just sitting all-day and earning all the money you need for survival, the epitome of a Bangali? Once my economics teacher said that when he did a survey of farmers in our country, none of them seem to have a desire to increase their land and expand their business. "Food three times a day on the table and that's all I want". But yes, Dhakaites are definitely different in this regard. Who doesn't want to live in a house with a pool and a tennis court in Baridhara and Gulshan, as so many other people? And yes jealousy, the quintessential quality of a Bengali. If you don't have it then I am sorry to say you are originally not from this country. My English teacher tells me that all the time. At first I thought how does he know by deepest feelings? Yes, I do feel jealous when someone gets something that I don't. Is it something bad? Well, if you don't have jealousy then how can you ever want to improve your living condition. You want to be better off than the person next to you and that's what provides the drive to work harder and succeed. And people are jealous of you meaning they don't like you being so well off. As Sharon Stone said, 'you are no one in Hollywood if you don't have any enemies'. Take that away and Dhaka won't be the same.

Electricity going out or no water for days, an everyday problem. But it helps us prepare for the worst. Look at USA, no electricity for one day and bam! People are sleeping on the streets with no food or water. With the pull of one plug they have been brought down to their knees. Since we are always readily stocked with supplies like hand-held fans and candles, this will never happen to us. Thanks to DESA's inefficiency we are not the slaves of modern technology. Also it saves us money since our bills are automatically less. See? Who says the country doesn't care for us? And parents breathe a sigh of relief since their children are forced to get up from in front of the computer and walk around the house for a change, finally those eyes can take rest and those legs will be used. It seems Dhaka will never have a shortage of dust and garbage on the streets. If you are walking past a dustbin you have to take a longer circle around it to avoid the smell or stepping on God knows what. The same happens if construction materials are lying on the footpath. So ultimately you end up walking one to two kilometers longer than you should have (if your destination is far). With the lack of sports grounds and gyms in Dhaka, this makes sure your body stays fit. Nowadays even more since a lot of roads have become off limits to rickshaws.

Finally work is also easier here. Not only do you get a job if your mamu or chacha works in the company but you can laze since there isn't much work and you know very well only oiling the boss will get you a promotion, though I am not generalizing this. Two of my friends who went to USA to live permanently there hated it and came back. When I asked why they gave a lot of reasons to which I gave plausible answers. Then at last giving up they said, where in the world will you get 'Dhakar batash". Come to think of it, yes, where else can you get Dhakar batash?

By Zafeer A. Khan

Some facts about ice cream

Ice Cream, popular frozen food made of milk, cream, sugar, and flavoring. What can be more relaxing and rewarding than to devour on a cone of your favorite flavored ice cream on a hot summer's day. With the scorching heat upon us it wouldn't be a surprise if you find others or even yourself slurping on ice cream everyday. Ice cream parlors such as Baskin Robbins, Movenpick, Club Gelato, American Soft Ice cream, Igloo Gelateria and others are always filled up with people from all walks of life who one to get away from the heat and cool themselves off. Even in houses, you will definitely find a box of Polar, Igloo, Kwality or Savoy ice cream.

While having ice cream at a friends house the other day, my friend's father came up to me and asked whether I knew where ice cream originally came from. I couldn't answer the question. He then asked me whether I knew what basic ingredients are used to make ice cream. Since my favorite ice cream is Vanilla it was pretty much guessable what the ingredients would be. But still, I wasn't confident enough to give him a proper answer.

So to avoid yourself falling into an odd situation like I did, here some facts about ice cream.

Ice cream probably originated in China around 2000 BC. It was first made in Italy in the 17th century and appeared in the United States in the early 18th century. The U.S. ice-cream manufacturing industry began in 1851.

Early production methods consisted of placing the ingredients in a metal container, surrounded by a freezing mixture of ice and coarse salt, and mixing them until smooth. In modern plants the basic ingredients, plus gelatin, used as a stabilizer to give the product a smooth consistency, are poured into a tank, where they are mixed and pasteurized. The mixture is then homogenized to break up particles of butterfat, cooled, piped to a freezing tank, and beaten until smooth; at this stage nuts or fruits are sometimes added. The ice cream emerges from the freezing tank partially frozen and is packed into containers that are stored in a refrigerated room until hard.

Several forms of ice cream are made. French ice cream is ice cream enriched with egg yolks; parfait and mousse are ice-cream preparations that have not been beaten during the freezing process; biscuit tortoni is a rich ice cream sprinkled with powdered almonds or macaroons; and spumoni is a mousselike ice cream to which fruits and nuts have been added. Soft ice cream, made of the same ingredients as ordinary ice cream, is sold as it comes from the freezer before hardening. Ice milk, made from milk with four percent butterfat, is also sold before hardening. Frozen custardsoft ice cream with eggs addedis cooked to a custard before freezing.

By Gokhra







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